Top House Republicans on the select China committee are pushing to secure billions more dollars for security initiatives and U.S. posture across the Indo-Pacific to counter the growing ambitions of Beijing.
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), chair of the China select committee, led his GOP colleagues in a Sunday letter to House and Senate leadership asking to boost the funding levels laid out in the Biden administration’s supplemental request for the Indo-Pacific by $12 billion.
The Republicans argued the funds would better counter the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the region, citing Chinese aggression against the Philippines and other nations in the South China Sea, war drills over Taiwan and a massive military buildup.
“If we fail to provide the resources necessary to deter CCP aggression tomorrow, history will not forgive our inaction nor will it spare us the consequences,” lawmakers wrote. “Future generations of Americans that live in a world that is less secure, less prosperous, and less free will look back at this moment and ask why we failed to act with urgency when Xi Jinping’s hostile intent and robust military capabilities were so clear.”
In October, President Biden requested that Congress fund a $106 billion supplemental request to support the border, Ukraine, Israel and the Indo-Pacific to protect U.S. interests across the globe.
While there is no immediate threat in the Indo-Pacific, unlike Ukraine and the Middle East, Washington has increasingly warned of a conflict between American and Chinese forces over the self-governing island nation Taiwan in the near future as Beijing has expressed a desire to reunify with Taipei.
Biden’s supplemental request included $5.4 billion for the Indo-Pacific between submarine building and foreign military financing for the region, which includes grants and loans to allied nations.
The president’s proposal drew scrutiny when it was unveiled as Republicans said it did not include enough for the Indo-Pacific, especially compared to the about $60 billion for Ukraine and the roughly $14 billion for Israel.
The China select committee said an extra $2 billion is needed to backfill U.S. equipment that could be sent to Taiwan to more urgently address the island nation’s needs. Lawmakers have long raised concerns about a backlog in weapons for Taipei.
They are also requesting an additional $10 billion for the Indo-Pacific to promote the defense industrial base and accelerate munitions production for the region.
It’s unclear where congressional leadership stands on the request, but funding the Indo-Pacific and deterring China is one of the few areas where lawmakers have agreed.
Still, Congress has struggled to agree on key bills to fund both Israel and Ukraine and Biden’s supplemental request has not seen much unified movement in Congress since its introduction more than a month ago.
In the letter, lawmakers argued that despite the pressing conflicts in Ukraine and Israel, the Indo-Pacific “must not be an afterthought.”
“In order to safeguard peace in Asia and deter conflict on a scale we have not seen in generations, we must act before it is too late,” they wrote. “For while deterrence may be hard, war is hell.”
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